Bone Health: Tips for Strong Bones  

Did you know that your bone mass density peaks at 30? Strong bones are important to help us move and support our bodies. Without them, it would be difficult to do the things we love. Eating a balanced diet, being active, and not smoking or drinking excessively helps keep our bones strong and healthy.  

 

What are Osteopenia and Osteoporosis?

Our bones are constantly reforming all the time with new bone being formed and old bone being reabsorbed. Sometimes we can lose too much bone, make not enough new bone, or both. Osteopenia is when bone loss is significant. The bones are weakened leading to a higher risk of fractures. When bone loss is more severe this is called osteoporosis.

 

Nutrition

Calcium and vitamin D are the two most vital micronutrients in maintaining bone health. Calcium builds bone while vitamin D helps with calcium absorption.  Good sources of calcium can be found in dairy products, dark leafy greens, and products fortified with calcium. Dairy is the best source of calcium. A cup of yogurt has about 450 mg of calcium and a cup of 2% milk has about 300 mg. Broccoli is another great vegetable source with about 180 in one cup. 1000 mg of calcium daily is recommended.

Vitamin D can be found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. Your body can also produce Vitamin D from sunlight if you spend 15 minutes outside. It’s also important to have adequate protein, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus intake. These minerals help build new bone and the absorption of calcium. Eating a diverse and balanced diet with all food groups will ensure you will get all the necessary nutrients. 

 

Being Active 

In addition to getting enough nutrients, you can increase or maintain your bone strength with being active. The best activities are resistance training and weight-bearing exercises like running, jump roping, hiking, jogging, and dancing. Weight-bearing exercises are great because they stimulate bone remodeling to keep your bones strong!

 

Bone health is important at all stages of your life, whether you are young or old. You can take steps now to build your bone density or help sustain what you already have. Osteoporosis or osteopenia may not be completely preventable due to genetics and other factors. But you can lower the risk by being active, having a balanced diet, and not drinking and smoking excessively. 

COVID-19: Natural Remedies, Healthful or Hype?

There are two very important ways you can protect yourself are to reduce exposure and strengthen your immunity.

1) Reduce exposure by washing your hands routinely, cleaning frequently touched surfaces (think keyboards, cellphones, doorknobs), staying home when you are sick and limiting visitors, and covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze (sneeze and cough into your elbow, not your hands).

2) Eat a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and reducing stress.

Nutrients, such as vitamin C, zinc, and vitamin D, have a long track record for playing a role in normal immune system function.

Vitamin C 
– Acts as an antioxidant, reducing inflammation caused by cell damage
– Helps direct immune cells to the site of infection to help fight illness
– Activates enzymes that help control the body’s response to severe infection
– Assists in the production of collagen, which can protect against injury to the skin

Zinc
– Activates immune cells that protect the body from infection
– Supports the growth of healthy skin cells
– Has been shown to reduce the severity and duration of some viral illnesses

Vitamin D 
– Keeps bones healthy, which supports the production of immune cells
– Activates immune cells that protect the body from infection – Has been shown in research to reduce the risk of some respiratory infections

Certain extracts have also been shown to help support immune function including garlic, elderberry, and lauric acid (from coconut oil). That being said, no one can strengthen their immune system overnight and there is no evidence that any supplement can prevent coronavirus or reduce symptoms in people who are affected. Many experts are recommending to not spend money on nutritional supplements if they are being taken only for this purpose.

DH/KD

How Does Your Bar Add Up?

As a Dietitian, I always recommend real food over meal replacements, shakes or bars. In a perfect world, we would sit down and eat a balanced meal three times a day. However, if you are in a time crunch, having a nutrition bar is better than skipping a meal. So that leads us to the big question – “how do I choose the right bar?”  Choosing the right bar for you can be very challenging. Several bars on the shelves are full of sugar with similar nutrition content as a candy bar. Here are a few guidelines and things to look for when choosing a nutrition bar:

 

  • Carbohydrates: Complex carbohydrates are a great source of sustainable energy, so look for bars that have fiber content. Also, look for bars that contain natural sources of sugar, like fruit. Try to limit added sugars.

Rule of thumb: 2 gm or more of fiber and 8-10 gm or less of total sugar content

 

  • Protein: Protein is needed to help you feel full and keep you feeling full between meals, so this is an important one. Your body can only absorb a certain amount of protein in one sitting, so getting a bar with 30-40 gm protein is not helpful.

Rule of thumb: 8-20 gm protein content

 

  • Fat: Look for a bar that contains healthy sources of fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) and avoid bars high in saturated or trans fats.

Rule of thumb: less than 3 gm saturated fat content

 

Here is a list of bars that meet the guidelines above:

  • Kashi GOLEAN Plant Powered Bars: Salted Dark Chocolate and Nut; Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • KIND Breakfast Protein Bars: Dark Chocolate Cocoa; Almond Bar; Maple Cinnamon; Peanut Butter Banana Dark Chocolate
  • KIND Sweet and Spicy Bars: Roasted Jalapeno; Thai Sweet Chili; Sweet Cayenne BBQ
  • CLIF Whey Protein Bars: Mint Chocolate Almond Flavor
  • CLIF Mojo Bars: Honey Srirocka
  •  CLIF Luna Bars: Lemonzest; Chocolate Peppermint Stick; Sea Salt Caramel; Nutz Over Chocolate; White Chocolate Macadamia; S’mores; Chocolate Cupcake
  • POWER Bar Plant Protein Bars: Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt
  • EPIC Bars: Chicken Sesame BBQ; Turkey Almond Cranberry
  • Nature Valley Protein Chewy Bar: Honey Peanut Almond
  • Think Thin Protein + Fiber Bars: Pumpkin Spice
  • KIZE Bars: Cocoa; Peanut Butter; Vanilla Almond; Cinnamon Roll; Pumpkin Seed; Peanut Butter Crunch with Pumpkin Seeds

 

Note: The above recommendations are for healthy adults. If you have a chronic disease, please talk to your Dietitian to see if there are any other specific recommendations for you to look at. The bars pictured were found at Crest Foods and Target.

 

LN

I Hate My Food Intolerances

“I hate my food intolerances!”

If you have said this before, this blog post is for you. I have been living with food intolerances myself for years and let me tell you, it has been a journey to acceptance. My intolerances began after my first pregnancy and it has taken years to figure out my new normal.  I have dealt with all the feelings: anger, frustration, annoyance, sadness, and down right feeling sorry for myself. Even after all this time, there are days that are really hard. And it is OK. So how do you get through it?

The first step is truly identifying what foods affect you. For years I thought my intolerances were from gluten and after eliminating wheat/gluten products I felt better, but not 100% normal. I took a Pinner test and the results were shocking. A staple food in my life was the main culprit to my poor gut health: eggs. This was incredibly difficult to accept. When I eliminated them from my diet, I noticed a world of change and quickly found reasonable substitutes to give my body a chance to heal. The bloating, pain, fatigue and a host of other symptoms have slowly gone away and what is left is… nothing. A lack of symptoms and a feeling of normal that I didn’t think I could feel.

Going forward, I ask a million questions at restaurants, buy new products, and try alternate recipes with the goal of keeping my body symptom free and completely satisfied. Remember folks, there are thousands of foods out there, so there is no need to focus on the few items that you can’t have.  So find out what you are actually intolerant/allergic to and make the adjustments to your pantry so you can be comfortable in your kitchen again. Please feel free to contact us to find out more information on our Pinner tests and set an appointment to start your path down the road to eating with confidence again. MU

Buying Healthy on a Budget

Is grocery shopping for a healthy lifestyle more expensive? The answer is absolutely not, but it can be if you let it. As a student studying nutrition I hear this all the time from friends, family, and random people I meet, “I would love to start eating healthy but it’s so expensive”. I am going to show you how it can be way cheaper to buy fresh, real food versus the pre-packaged, convenience foods at the grocery store and share some tips on how to find the healthier products!

I have listed a few items that I feel are commonly bought at the grocery store (Walmart Grocery prices).

Shopper 1

  • Maple & brown sugar instant oatmeal packs (160 calories/serving) > $2.50
  • Welch’s fruit snacks (80 calories/serving) > $6.98
  • Bag of Doritos (140 calories/serving) > $3.98
    • Totals = $13.46, 380 calories

Shopper 2

  • 100% Whole Grain quick oats (150 calories/serving) > $1.76
  • 2 lbs of grapes (30 calories/ 15 grapes) > $5.76
  • 1 bag of string cheese 12ct (70 calories/serving) > $2.18
    • Totals = $9.70, 250 calories

As you can tell, shopper 1 bought the processed, pre-packaged items while shopper 2 chose a healthier and less processed version of shopper 1’s items. The healthier options not only cost less and are lower in calories, but the health benefits they provide are going to save you money in the future as well due to less medical bills and visits to the doctor.

I also have some tips to help you make healthier decisions while you are at the grocery store. I know you have probably heard some of these before but that just means that they are working for people!

  1. Make a list. This doesn’t mean throw together a list in the car on the way there, this means plan your meals and snacks for the week and write it all down.
  2. Eat a snack. We all know you aren’t supposed to go to the grocery store hungry, so if you know you’re one to buy impulsively from cravings, then have a snack before you go or even take one with you.
  3. Shop on the perimeter. Have you ever noticed that the fresh produce, meat, and dairy are all on the perimeter of the grocery stores? The processed foods tend to be in the aisles in the middle of the store, so after shopping for all your wonderful, fresh foods venture over to get necessities from the aisles such as brown rice or whole grain bread.
  4. I hope this blog has opened your eyes to the world of grocery shopping for a healthier lifestyle. Reminder: this does not mean you have to give up your favorite cookies or ice cream… Everything can fit onto your plate in moderation. In the long-run, your body and mind will thank you for eating fruits and vegetables as well as a cookie now and then! KM

Food Allergies

Prevalence and Severity of Food Allergies Among US Adults – Article Review

A new study was published looking at the prevalence of food allergies among adults in the US. Since most studies are centered around childhood food allergies, this information is greatly welcomed. Food allergies continue to be a relevant topic as they pose a threat to many people’s health and well-being. Adults can either develop food allergies later in life (example: fin fish and shellfish) or continue to react to food allergies from childhood. This study set out to provide comprehensive, national representative estimates of the distribution, severity, and factors associated with adult food allergy in the United States.

Surveys were administered to a sampling of US households, age 18 and above, by NORC at the University of Chicago from 10/9/2015 – 9/18/2016. The primary outcome measures for the study were the prevalence and severity of overall and food specific convincing adult food allergy.  Criteria were set to distinguish between convincing and non-convincing food allergies: severity of reactions and organ systems involved. Statistical analysis was done to compare relative prevalence and other assessed food allergy outcomes by participant characteristics.

Overall 10.8% of US adults were estimated to have 1 or more convincing food allergies, suggesting that at least 12 million adults have adult – onset food allergies and 13 million have experienced 1 or more severe reactions. The data suggests 1 in 10 US adults are food allergic and 1 in 5 adults believe they are food allergic.  The most common allergies seen were: shellfish, peanut, milk, tree nuts, and fin fish. Half of the participants reported a diagnosed allergy and peanuts tended to be the FA with the highest rate of physician diagnoses. A history of severe reactions was more commonly reported by participants with peanut and tree nut allergies. 8.6% of participants reported 1 or more ER visits within the last year. Rates of females with convincing FA were higher than those of males and younger adults (age 30-39 years) were higher than participants 60 years or older. Food allergies continue to be a prevailing topic in health care and as shown in this study, are extremely common in the United States.

To see the study in its entirety visit: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2720064

MU

Sweet & Savory Smoothie Bowls

If you haven’t heard, smoothie bowls are a growing trend due to their bright colors and nutritious benefits. A smoothie bowl is exactly what it sounds like, a smoothie in a bowl! The difference between a smoothie bowl and your average smoothie in a glass is that they tend to be a bit thicker and people like to add toppings such as fruits, nuts, and granola to them. You can have them for any meal or even a post-workout snack and they usually include greens, fruits, protein, and a healthy fat.

Here are three different smoothie bowl recipes you should try!

Mango Almond Smoothie Bowl– 1/2 C frozen mango (chopped), 1/2 C nonfat plain Greek yogurt, 1/4 C frozen banana (sliced), 1/4 C plain unsweetened almond milk, 1/8 tsp ground allspice, 1/2 tsp honey, one serving of almonds and 1/4 C raspberries to top it off.

Honeydew Smoothie Bowl – 4 C frozen honeydew (cubed 1/2-in pieces), 1/2 C unsweetened coconut milk beverage, 1/3 C green juice (such as wheatgrass), 1 Tbsp honey, pinch of salt, melon balls – berries – nuts – fresh basil to top it off!

Berry, Banana & Avocado Smoothie Bowl – 1 C Silk (not chocolate flavor), 1/2 C oats, 1 C frozen banana, 1 C frozen mixed berries, 1/4 avocado, 1-2 Tbsp honey, 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed, topping suggestions – goji berries, chia seeds, fresh berries, pumpkin seeds, granola.

The variety with these smoothie bowls is endless depending on your fruit and veggie preferences so get out there and start creating!

KM

*Recipes and picture courtesy of eatingwell.com*

Holiday Health Tips

Here are a few tips to stay healthy while still enjoying holidays!

  1. Bring your own food: Contribute a healthy dish to ensure there is something you can indulge in and consider eating the healthier options first.
  2. Don’t go hungry to the mall: never go to the mall on an empty stomach to prevent having grab-and-go food from the food court.
  3. Keep a food log: maintaining a food diary can help you stay committed to your health goals.
  4. Eat before going to a party: having a healthy snack before heading to a festive party can help curb appetite and lessen your cravings.
  5. Keep healthy snacks at the office: stash healthy foods in your desk at work so you’re not tempted by the office goodies piling up over the holidays.
  6. Manage portion size: use smaller plates and serving utensils, and pour drinks into tall, skinny glasses.
  7. Control your environment: eat with a small group when you can, sit next to fellow health-aware eaters, and keep visual evidence around of what you have already consumed.
  8. Keep up the exercise: no time for your longer workouts? Break them up into 10-15 minute spurts throughout the day.
  9. Choose your indulgences: pick items that are truly special and unique to the season, anything is OK in moderation.

We hope everyone has the BEST holiday season and we cannot wait to see you next year!

Tips from realsimple.com*

Winter Workout

If you haven’t noticed, it is CHILLY outside. This makes it a little more challenging to get out and you know what we’re about to say.. exercise. DUN Dun dun! We know it is hard to rip yourself away from that toasty fireplace and magical Hallmark movie, however, exercising during these winter months is crucial to your physical and mental health.
You will have more energy, feel happier and healthier, AND get an immune boost (hello flu season). So, here is a 30 minute workout you don’t even have to leave your living room to do. You got this!

Abdominal Crunches Followed by Plank

Do three sets of 30 proper crunches and then immediately go into a full plank and hold that position for 60 seconds. Do this back to back with only 20 second rests between each set. This will take approximately five minutes.

Mountain Climbers

Now do mountain climbers in a standing position. Get your knees as high and as fast as possible for 60 seconds. Do this two times in a row with only 30 seconds rest between each set. This will take approximately three minutes.

Push Ups and Full-Body Plank, ISO Hold

Do a pushup either on your toes or knees for three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions. On your last repetition, hold a full-body plank with a slight bend in your elbows for 60 seconds. Rest 20 seconds between each set. This will take approximately six minutes. M

Standing Stationary Lunge Squat With Three-Second Hold Squats

Do a simple standing-in-place lunge with foot placement in front and back (proper positioning). Do three sets per side for 20 reps each. Immediately after this exercise, go into a regular squat. Every time you go down (eccentric phase), hold for three seconds and then come up (concentric phase). This will take approximately five minutes.M

Supermans with Arms Straight Out

Do an Isometric Superman (arms and legs elevated with chest barely off the ground) and hold that position on your stomach for 30 seconds. Right after the 30 seconds, pretend that you are swimming, and do this movement for 60 seconds. Do three sets of this with a 20-second rest between each set. This will take approximately six minutes.

Rest. Cool down. You are done!

This workout is from Fitness Magazine*

Turkey & Brown Rice Chili

Happy December! Chili is such a popular staple food this season and we found this recipe just in time. While it cooks you have time to throw together a green, veggie salad to complete this hearty winter meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound uncooked ground turkey breast
  • 2½ cups coarsely chopped red and/or green bell peppers (2 large)
  • 1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
  • ½ cup chopped celery (1 stalk)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans 50%-less-sodium beef broth
  • 1 (15 ounce) can no-salt-added red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons no-salt-added tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped canned chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • Grated Cheddar cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add turkey, bell peppers, onion, celery and garlic; cook until meat is brown, using a wooden spoon to break up meat as it cooks. Drain, if needed.
  2. Stir broth, kidney beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, chili powder, chile peppers and cumin into meat mixture in large saucepan. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 45 minutes. Stir in brown rice. Cook, uncovered, 10 to 15 minutes more or until desired consistency. If desired, sprinkle individual servings with Cheddar cheese.

This recipe is from Diabetic Living Magazine* Picture from eatingwell.com*

Nutrition Information – Serving size: 1½ cup – Per serving: 306 calories; 4 g fat(1 g sat); 9 g fiber; 40 g carbohydrates; 27 g protein; 36 mcg folate; 37 mg cholesterol; 11 g sugars; 2,219 IU vitamin A; 72 mg vitamin C; 56 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 346 mg sodium; 323 mg potassium Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (120% daily value), Vitamin A (44% dv) Carbohydrate Servings: 2½ – Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 lean protein, 1 vegetable